Almost 100 ways to cook an (Easter) egg


As a professional chef I am often asked why some chefs wear those “silly white hats.” Silly or not, the toque represents the professionalism of the time honored chefs uniform distinguishing a chef’s rank as the height of the toque increases.

Little known to those outside the kitchen is that a toque contains 100 folds and culinary legend has it that those folds represent 100 ways to cook an egg. Most chefs these days opt for different forms of headwear in their kitchens for a variety of reasons. Personally at 5-foot-2 inches tall, wearing a 13-inch tall white hat for my day-to-day duties becomes some what of a burden in a busy kitchen, not to mention it defeats my own opinion of myself looking powerful and professional!

With Easter Sunday upon us, the price of eggs has gone up a bit as families across the country take some time to share in the holiday tradition of coloring Easter eggs. Once the Easter Bunny has hopped around and hidden the uniquely decorated eggs, we all share a few laughs during the Easter egg hunt as the youngsters scramble to seek the prized possessions.

And then…..you’ve got a whole lot of hard boiled eggs you don’t know what to do with.

Eggs are a great source of protein and they have 13 essential vitamins and minerals.

So think twice before you ditch the leftover Easter eggs and hop on back to your kitchen to create some quick simple and delicious meals with this time-honored classic.

Jump start your holiday weekend plans with a bit of inspiration as I tip my toque to you with not quite 100 ways to use those gorgeous Easter Eggs!

Jalapeno Deviled – the classic deviled eggs with fresh chopped jalapenos

Not so Southern Potato Salad – diced Potatoes, Eggs, Dijon Mustard, Celery with Salt, Pepper and Tumeric

Balsamic Brined – brine the Egg in Balsamic Vinegar and Water for four days, slice and serve with an Antipasti Salad

Primavera Pasta – Egg Noodles with Peas, Carrots, Onions and sliced Eggs with Parmesan Cream sauce

Simply Chopped – great topper for Salads, Fish and Soups

Whip It – chop the Eggs add a bit of Mustard, Salt and Pepper and whip until creamy

Scalloped Potatoes Egg – layered casserole with Cream, Onions and Cheddar Cheese

Meatballs – add diced Eggs to your favorite Meatball recipe

Green Bean Vidalia Onion Salad - with sliced Eggs and Mustard Vinaigrette

BLEggT – Classic Bacon Lettuce and Tomato topped with sliced Egg

Bruschetta – Tomatoes, Onions, Basil and chopped Eggs blended with herbs and Olive Oil on crusty Bread

Dip It – chopped eggs with Feta, Yogurt, fresh Mint, Salt Pepper

Panini – sliced Peppers, Olives, Tomatoes and Eggs

Lox Bagels – smoked Salmon, Bagels, Capers and chopped Red Onion and Eggs

Flatbread – topped with sliced Tomatoes, Mozzarella, Eggs drizzled with Olive Oil and fresh Oregano

Chicken Salad – diced Chicken and Eggs, sliced Grapes and Almonds with Tarragon

Curried Egg Salad – add Curry Powder to your favorite Egg salad recipe

Arugula Aioli Sandwich – sliced Eggs with Parmesan Garlic Aioli and Arugula

Chicken Lettuce Wraps – diced Chicken, Eggs and Onions tossed in Citrus Vinaigrette served in Iceberg Leaf

Shaved Brussel Sprout Salad – with sliced Eggs, chopped Bacon and Green Onions

Pork Fried Rice – with chopped Eggs, Broccoli, Mushrooms and Carrots

Spinach Salad – with Goat Cheese, sliced Eggs, crispy Bacon and Mustard Vinaigrette

Eggs pack a nutritious punch

Happy Easter! What a wonderful day to celebrate the nutritious egg. On this day of renewal, the egg not only is a symbol of Easter, but also a symbol of excellent nutrient balance.

While no one whole food can provide all the nutrients you need in a day, it is in favor of health for us to choose individual foods that are nutrient powerhouses. And one of those nutrient powerhouses is the egg.

Whole eggs provide high-quality protein, vitamins, minerals and other good-for-you nutrients like choline. Eggs are healthful for all age groups, although introduction of eggs to babies should be discussed with your pediatrician. Since eggs are one of the top eight allergenic foods, care should be taken when introducing them for the first time to a baby. Pregnant women should however, consume eggs regularly if possible, in order to provide choline to their growing babies, as it contributes to fetal development and helps prevent birth defects. Two eggs provide about half of the recommended amount of choline for pregnant women.

For those concerned about cholesterol, new research shows that the average amount of cholesterol in a large egg has dropped since 2002 by about 14 percent (from 215 mg to 185 mg). Generally, we should limit consumption of dietary cholesterol to 300 mg daily. One egg daily or more than one every now and then could certainly fit into a balanced diet for most people. If you have high cholesterol or heart disease, work with a dietitian to determine whether and how eggs can fit into your diet.

Many individuals opt to just eat egg whites (no yolks) to eliminate the fat and cholesterol. While this may be advised for some, know that you miss out on the choline, omega-3 fatty acids, lutein and zeaxanthin (phytonutrients that contribute to eye health), most of your vitamins and some of your minerals and protein when you eliminate the yolk.

Today, many of us will enjoy eggs on our Easter table. From deviled eggs, casseroles and egg salad to dressings and desserts, eggs will appear in numerous ways this Easter. If you love lemon meringue pie or key lime pie for Easter, that meringue is from — you guessed it — whipped egg whites. The egg’s versatility, good taste, digestibility and symbolism all make for the perfect Easter dish.

Care should of course be taken if real eggs (cooked or uncooked) are used for egg hunts — these eggs should not be consumed for food safety reasons. Since eggs are perishable, they should be kept in the refrigerator until ready to use or consume. Proper cooking and food handling will prevent food-borne illness.

When purchasing eggs, check the expiration date and also look inside the carton to ensure none of the eggs have cracks. Bacteria can harbor in cracked eggs and contaminate the shells of the eggs in the same carton.

There are many varieties of eggs available to us. You can select conventional, organic, cage free, those fed all grain/vegetarian diet, those with added nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids and extra vitamin D, brown or white (simply a difference in breed of hen) and in whichever size you prefer (usually medium, large or extra large.)

To learn more about eggs, visit www.incredibleegg.org. They currently even offer a coupon for eggs when you like their Facebook page.

Have a Happy Easter!

Eggs: the new super-food?

In the near future it is possible that they will become healthier still.
Scientists have discovered that if you feed the hens certain seeds such as
flax- and linseed, the fatty acids in the yolk become more like the oily
fish we don’t generally eat enough of.

Early experiments foundered, because the eggs ended up tasting fishy. But a
paper this year by a group of American scientists reported that giving the
hens camelina meal (otherwise known as gold-of-pleasure) improved the
fatty-acid content of the eggs without spoiling the taste. I’m not generally
a fan of fortified foods, but if I could get the benefits of cod-liver oil
from a plate of eggs benedict, count me in.

What about cholesterol? That joyless Californian mess, the egg-white omelette,
was born from the fear that the high cholesterol levels in yolk translated
into high cholesterol in the human body. Recent studies, however, have
suggested that this is not so. If you are predisposed to heart disease or a
diabetes sufferer, then bingeing on fried egg and chips or three-egg
omelettes smothered with melted cheese may not be wise. The medical advice
is still to go easy on yolks after heart attack or stroke. But a 2010 study
of 40 adults found that moderate egg consumption did not lead to higher
cholesterol.

Which is happy news. As I hold my soldier over the yolk, poised to dip, it’s
all good.

Give the dog a bone pill!

SOME DOGS will eat anything and everything, including their medications. However, most dogs are reluctant patients. The ASPCA (www.aspcabehavior.org) offers some good tips and directions about humane pilling techniques.

Try these tricks first

  • When available, request chewable medications. They’re flavored and taste just like treats.
  • Mix the dog’s medication into a meal; it may go unnoticed. If you feed the dog kibble, add a small amount of canned food or a soft treat, such as a cube of cheese or hot-dog chunk with the pill pushed inside. Wrapping the pill inside a slice of cheese or meat might also be a successful disguise.
  • If your dog tends to chew treats rather than swallow them whole, make them small. Give him a few unloaded treats first, followed by one with the pill inside and a final unloaded treat.
  • Dogs who enjoy catching treats

Fresh or frozen: which has more nutrition?

When it comes to fruits and vegetables, there’s been a long-running debate: Do frozen and fresh produce pack the same nutritional punch?

Einstein Healthcare dietitian Theresa Shank says that especially most of the time, frozen fruits and veggies will give you more vitamins and minerals than fresh produce.

“After being harvested, they are flash-frozen and then they’re packaged,” says Shank.

“Fresh vegetables, they don’t hold their nutrients as well, if they’e not grown locally, because they’re transported, and they’re exposed to heat light – all can cause degradation of nutrients,” she adds.

Shank says produce handlers also use high technology to preserve the appearance of even long-distance foods.

“A lot of root vegetables, they’ll cover with a wax coating – like parsnips, and thet will help retain color,” she says. “So they’ll look like they’re fresh right out of the garden, however, they;re not. they’ve just had a protective coating.”

But look for the ones frozen without salt, sauces, and other additives.

In addition, Shank says, off-season frozen fruits and vegetables are often a far better buy, because you only need to prepare what you need. The rest stays in the freezer.

 

Diet tips to prevent menstrual cramps

Woman with pineapple

Fight off period pain

Make smarter food choices to reduce painful cramps and PMS symptoms.

Take a nutritional approach to combating the pain of menstrual cramps. During your period, hormonal changes occur and your body retains water while digestion slows down. No wonder you sometimes feel cramped and bloated!

Help yourself by drinking more water… at least two liters daily. The liquid flows through your intestines and speeds up your digestion. Make sure you are getting enough good vitamins in the foods you eat and with the help of supplements. Vitamin B6 eliminates bloating, while Vitamin C and zinc are essential for proper function of the reproductive system. Reduce salt and caffeine intake and up your consumption of foods rich in calcium by eating plenty of dark green vegetables and fruit. Nutritionist Cassandra Roberts recommends these foods as a natural way to reduce monthly cramps and PMS symptoms:

Wheat germ

Wheat germ provides a concentrated source of Vitamin B6 and other B vitamins and zinc. It also contains high amounts of magnesium and Vitamin E. It’s simple to add wheat germ to bread, cereals, even milk shakes and get 75% of the recommended daily intake of B vitamins in just one meal.

Pineapple

Quick relief from cramps with pineapple? Cassandra says “absolutely.” Pineapple contains bromelain, an enzyme that helps relax muscles to relieve menstrual discomfort. Regularly enjoying fresh pineapple will make a difference in how you feel. The greatest concentration of bromelain in pineapple is in and near the stem.

Tip

In traditional Chinese medicine, ginger has widely been used as a remedy for menstrual cramps. The most effective form is fresh ginger, available in the produce section of most grocery stores. Add it to your favorite dishes for pungent flavor and relief from cramps!

Parsley

Don’t underestimate parsley… it’s not just a garnish! Parsley is rich in apiol, a compound that has been proven to stimulate the menstrual process and relieve cramps. It’s also a superfood loaded with lots of healthy nutrients.

Spinach

The nutrients that we know fight menstrual cramps — magnesium and Vitamins B6 and E — are found in abundance in spinach. The nutritional profile of this healthy vegetable makes it an excellent option for women who suffer from pain and bloating during their periods.

Kale

Kale is one of the best plant-based sources of calcium and a nutritional heavyweight loaded with vitamins and minerals that help to maintain normal muscle tone. This green, leafy beauty is delicious in salads or sauteed in favorite hot and hearty dishes.

Other superfoods you’ll want to include to reduce menstrual symptoms are potassium-rich bananas to help minimize water retention, walnuts for their healthy omega-3 fatty acids (known to have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties), sesame seeds as a quick-loaded source of Vitamin B6 and oats, full of the anti-cramping mineral magnesium. Eating a bowl of oatmeal will actually help you start your day off with less pain!